Punk rock and desperate love combine in the yearnings of two young dreamers, both of whom flee to London from the vastly different worlds of the two Irelands seeking a real chance in life- -in an angry, visceral debut from young Irish writer O'Connor. Eddie Virago--a well-educated middle-class hero with a Mohawk and an electric guitar--fancies himself the lead in the hot band he has yet to form. On the boat from Dublin he meets Marion Mangan, a tough customer from Donegal; he throws up on her, they make out, and a romance is born. They move into a cheap hotel run by a sympathetic Indian, who gives Marion a job; then Eddie pursues his punk aspirations with an ad asserting: ``No headbangers or hippies need apply.'' He finds work wholesaling rubbish bags while the band gets an act together; but after their surprisingly solid debut in an Irish pub, Eddie is lured away to join a more professional group. His musical career goes nowhere, however, and he's sacked from his job; facing increasing turbulence with Marion, he secretly decides to abandon her. Taking up with a chic acquaintance from college, Eddie learns that his manager is not only a bigger dreamer than he is but a thief to boot, and months later concludes that Marion is worth the trouble after all--when he goes back to apologize, though, he finds that she went home and got married. Vivid, acid-etched details of the London scene in the 80's, with the mixed blessing of having Irish roots deftly handled--but the conventionality of the story keeps it from being the saga of a new lost generation it might have been. A promising near-miss.